Producing Hot Water From A Compost Heap / Pile (Jean Pain Revolutionary Design)

Posted: February 15, 2015 in Composting, DIY Gardening / Home Projects, Sustainable Change / Positive Outcome, Sustainable Construction
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There are many different ways to obtain Hot or at least, Warm water using Eco-friendly, sustainable methods which are low or zero impact in terms of pollution or carbon emissions. I have a few other methods in which Hot Water can be attained using solar for example, those will appear in other future posts so keep an eye out on this blog!

Today, we have the Compost Heap / Pile hot water system which is really basic in concept, quite low maintenance especially if you have the land and plan it all ahead! Your system can be the Jean Pain in Large (Such as the example in the video at the bottom of this post) or even just smaller setups as in the below photos:

Installing The Coil Pipe in a Permaculture / Jean Pain Compost Water Heating Pile

Compost Pile Water Heater Under Construction – Permaculture / Jean Pain

As long as you have the on site resources (Deciduous trees that loose their leaves in Autumn and also other natural organic matter producing elements), to continue to replenish the pile or create new backup / takeover piles which the system (piping) can be transferred to once the primary pile has completed it’s composting process.
Therefore you can ensure a year round supply of Hot / Warm water without having to use up valuable wood stocks which should be kept ideally for the colder winter months and days when the compost pile and other Solar resources aren’t able to operate at full potential (cloudy cold days etc.).
If you feed this water into a water heating system when the water is not at a high temperature, the water heating system indoors will require far less resources / energy to use in order to get the water temperature up to the desired level/s.

Here is a quick Wikipedia excerpt on the Jean Pain Page:

Jean Pain (12 December 1928 – 30 July 1981) was a Swiss-born French inventor and innovator who developed a compost-based bioenergy system that produced 100% of his energy needs. He heated water to 60 °C (140 °F) at a rate of 4 litres per minute (0.88 imp gal/min; 1.1 US gal/min) which he used for washing and heating. He also distilled enough methane to run an electricity generator, cooking elements, and power his truck. This method of creating usable energy from composting materials has come to be known as “Jean Pain Composting”, or the “Jean Pain Method”.

The following video is also a Permaculture Site Tour by Ben Falk from Moretown, Vermont in the US, he describes and shows the Jean Pain compost powered water heating system amongst other things such as his wood burning stove which also provides hot water:

Below, Ben Falk gives a quick 3 minute description of the Jean Pain concept and the video includes time frame still of the construction (Must See):


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